El Valle de Anton or better known as ‘El Valle’ is a beautiful valley situated just outside of Panama City. El Valle means the Valley and is far more than just a valley sitting in the middle of the jungle. The valley is actually a crater of an extinct volcano that is now home to just over 7,000 people, hundreds of native birds and unique animals including sloths. I had the opportunity to visit Panana for an incredible intimate wedding at Dreams Playa Bonita which you can check out here. I wanted to be able to see more of the country and get off the resort while I was in Panama so I spent some time looking for some tours that I could do. Something that is really important to me when exploring a country is supporting local and having a unique experience. When I landed on a blog that shared their experience exploring Anton Valley with an incredible, indigenous guide I knew I had found the perfect adventure.
Valle de Anton is about a two and a half hour drive from Panama City, but make sure to take into consideration that your commute if being picked up near Panama City could be much longer. Why is that? Well over half of the population in Panama live or work in the city so the morning rush hour is something like you have never seen before. The drive for these commuters can take 3-4hours each way. So to help with that two of the westbound lanes on the highway are reversed so drivers can use these to go into the city. For those heading out of the city, which was the case for us heading to El Valle, you are left with only two lanes. Our incredible tour guide Jerry coordinated with our driver Johnathon to ensure that we would have extra time in the morning to allow for a few stops but our drive ended up being closer to three and a half hours as we had to go with the flow of traffic into the city around the east end of Panama City and then turn around to finally head towards El Valle.
Once we finally arrived in El Valle de Anton were we ever blown away. This beautiful little town sitting in the heart of an extinct crater was honestly so amazing. From the little street vendor shops selling the freshest fruit you will ever have, the coolest looking barber shop to the little homes that sit at the base of the jungle hills. We met up with Jerry, who has a strong resemblance to Tarzan, and the rest of our group that would be exploring with us on that day, we hopped in the back of a lifted pick up truck and began our adventure into the jungle of El Valle.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck with only bars to hold onto while riding up hills with grades steeper than 20% made for some heck of a time! The entire group was laughing and enjoying the fresh morning air while making sure no one got smacked in the face by a low hanging branch! Our first stop was to a waterfall called Pozo Azul. If you do not have a 4×4 car you will need to park your car at the parking lot at the top and walk the last 1km on the dirt road. Here we got the chance to cliff jump, swim in the crystal clear waters and follow the source of the first waterfall to discover an additional 5 waterfalls if you continued climbing up the rocks.
From there we stopped off for lunch at a local cafe where they made the most delicious home made pasta and then we were off to explore Tavida Waterfall. This 32- metre high waterfall is surrounded by the lush jungle and plummets into a pool perfect for cooling down on a hot day. After spending some time climbing to the base of the falls and swimming in the pool we began our journey back down into the valley. Although our day was not over! We hung out at Bohdi Hostel where most of the other people from our tour were staying and waited for the sun to begin to set.
Once the sun began to set we hopped back in the truck and headed up the bumpiest road yet and began to head up one of the mountains for a sunset hike. To summit the mountain the last kilometre had to be hiked up the windiest pass I had ever climbed. You could see the wind more often than not blew so hard through this pass that most of the trees were crooked from it. Once we finally reached the top to watch the sunset beyond the valley it was pure magic. The sunset in Panama was truly like nothing I had ever seen before. We sat there as the wind whipped around us and just took it all in. Jerry, our guide, did some yoga as the sun was setting while others wandered around and explored the summit. Once we watched the sunset we began our hike and drive back down to the valley. It truly was one of the most incredible days I have ever experienced. This day trip to El Valle de Anton is something I cannot recommend enough to anyone that is visiting Panama. I look forward to coming back one day and spending a few weeks in Anton Valley to explore everything it has to offer.
If you would want to book a tour with Jerry here is how you can get in contact!
If you need a local guide for any kind of incredible tour I cannot recommend Jerry’s company Travelling Souls enough! Here is how you can get in contact with him!
Instagram: @jerryfit @travelling_soulspa
If you are looking for an amazing driver or another tour guide – our driver Johnathon is the one to connect with! Here is his contact information: